Over the last few decades, the global healthcare industry is on a high by the unique confluence of innovative technologies and investments trends. Continuous technical breakthroughs, comprehensive medical research’s, new business models, along with the emerging players are changing the dynamics and are also shattering the traditional approaches at the same time. While escalating cost, fierce competition, increasing count of patients, new diseases are posing difficult questions, the same factors are the driving factors for today’s growth as well.
Out of the innumerable components, clinical trials, pharmaceutical innovations, and medical research stand to be the pillars for drafting the success story of the healthcare industry in today’s modern era. These life-saving vaccines, medicines and innovative solutions are the end-result of countless clinical trials, research work done by the physicians, and medical professionals. Insights provided and shared by these professionals have led to minimize or at least lessen the impact of life-threatening diseases at the global level. As scientists continue to explore the molecular world, the healthcare industry witnesses constant improvisations that help to fight and eradicate traditional diseases from the planet!
One such breakthrough that has attracted the eyeballs of the medical fraternity is the on-going research work on ‘Virotherapy’. Termed as a major development to fight cancer, this is an evolving branch of medicine that could be a lethal/powerful weapon in fighting cancer. The foundation of Virotherapy was laid by a surgeon – Dr. William Coley, around a century ago. However, his ‘failed’ experiments were the preliminary steps that are on record and today’s progressive phase do carry the imprints of this previous works.
Through the advancements done in the field of genetic engineering, Virotherapy has seen the light of the day. In easy terms, this process involves a mutated virus that destroys the cancer cells without harming the healthy cells within the body.
Human Head Transplant
A decade earlier, talking about a face transplant would have been nothing short of a scene from a science fiction movie, however, today it’s a reality. Taking extensive inputs and stepping up the ladder, an Italian neurosurgeon – Sergio Canavero has claimed a 90% success rate that a patient can be treated and would be able to walk after a few months of post-surgery. However, even if it’s a success, the process would be too expensive and would be for the handful of the ‘richest’ people in the world!
As research work continues, Professor Canavero announced a successful experiment to reattach the head of a corpse to the body in November 2017. His next step will be to perform the experiment on a live, but a brain-dead person who has donated his body, only after which the first operation on a living person will be done. Interestingly, a 30- year old Russian suffering from a degenerative muscle condition – Valery Spiridonov has volunteered himself as the first living person on whom this experiment can be performed.
For a patient suffering from diabetes, this invention is nothing less than a God’s gift. As the pancreas of a patient suffering from diabetes produces lower quantities of insulin than usual, Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G is an innovative device that monitors blood glucose level and the insulin pump. This is approved by the US FDA (Food & Drug Administration). This device is immensely useful for the treatment of type 1 diabetes for the patients aged above fourteen years. Counted as the world’s first ‘hybrid closed-loop system’ it was released in March 2017 for commercial purposes.
Wireless Pulse Oximeter
For decades now, we all are quite habituated with the pulse Oximeter that is one of the most widely used devices for monitoring patients. This function measures the level of oxygen saturation in a blood that is very critical while performing operations and complex medical procedures. However, the advent of wireless personal pulse oximetry devices in 2016 has driven the sales volume to new heights. Originated in France, ‘MyOxy’ monitor is a Bluetooth-enabled device that integrates oxygen saturation along with other parameters like temperature, blood pressure into a smartphone or a tablet. The other one – ‘MightySat’ was invented in the US and is also a Bluetooth-based device that can be connected to an Apple or Android application. This home-use device tracks the vital information while they are in motion.
Daurismo – Blood Cancer Drug
One of the premier pharmaceutical companies – Pfizer is planning to launch a drug in the US that treats a form of blood cancer in newly-diagnosed patients under a ‘combination therapy’. The FDA recently approved the drug to be used for adults suffering from ‘acute myeloid leukemia’ (AML) for patients aged 75 or more. This treatment is also restricted to the patients who have certain health conditions prior to receiving the diagnosis and secondly on whom intensive chemotherapy is not a feasible option.
Recent research on AMD
Age-related macular degeneration blurs the part of the eye called ‘macula’ that allows a person to perform ‘straight-head’ activities like driving, reading, to name a few. Although it doesn’t convert to complete blindness, with time the eyes develop blank spots in the central vision that hugely impacts the eye-sight.
Recently, a team at the University of Pennsylvania has categorized a new animal model that impersonates the aspects of AMD. This model will assist the researchers to explore and probe the environmental risk factors that stimulate this disease and that can eventually help them to design a successful treatment accordingly.